Sustainable Sydney 2020 – 2050

Achieving a sustainable Sydney

On 3 June, the City of Sydney held a stakeholder briefing on their draft environment strategy. Strata Plus was invited to attend. The draft strategy outlines how Sydney will continue to be a global leader and create a more resilient and sustainable city.

It details how the city will increase energy and water efficiency, use more renewable energy, move away from petrol-fuelled vehicles and divert waste away from landfill.

The briefing was delivered by the Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, The CEO of the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council, Suzanne Toumbourou, Chris Reidy, Professor at the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney, and Shannon Foster, UTS Higher Degree Research Student and D’harawal Saltwater Knowledge Keeper.

Why we need to act

  • Climate predictions worsening: 1.5 increase of heating
  • Green recovery: 70% of greenhouse gases
  • The role of cities
  • Community demand of action

To have your say on the Draft Environmental Strategy, and Draft Environmental Sustainability Policy, complete the SURVEY by Wednesday 16 June 2021.


Draft Environmental Strategy 2021-2025

Draft Environmental Sustainability Policy

Strategic Direction and Operational Actions

The City of Sydney has developed four strategic directions and 23 actions, which are listed below, to achieve meaningful environmental outcomes in our city.

Smart and resilient city operations

  1. Deliver energy, water and resilience outcomes through asset design and management
  2. Keep City parks green with water efficiency and alternate water sources
  3. Regenerate the environment through a carbon-neutral commitment
  4. Ensure the City’s programs and services use resources efficiently
  5. Reduce operational waste to landfill through avoidance and resource recovery
  6. Reduce embodied carbon in our supply chain and support circular economy outcomes
  7. Manage environmental risks and issues

Efficient, future-proof buildings and transport powered by renewable energy

  1. Improve performance of existing buildings
  2. Drive all new buildings to be resource-efficient and net-zero energy
  3. Support the transition to zero-emission transport
  4. Encourage community uptake of renewable electricity and stimulate the green economy
  5. Support our residents to reduce utility costs and environmental impact
  6. Help businesses to reduce utility costs and demonstrate environmental achievement

A regenerative and inclusive city

  1. Incorporate the perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in environmental action
  2. Address equity issues related to climate change
  3. Build community resilience and momentum on climate action
  4. Support the development of circular economy systems
  5. Drought-proof the city by facilitating water recycling
  6. Regenerate polluted waterways, air and land
  7. Reduce the amount of residential waste sent to landfill through avoidance and resource recovery

Strong foundations for delivery

  1. Build staff capability to deliver environmental outcomes
  2. Deliver high-quality internal and external environmental reporting and communications
  3. Employ efficient and effective decision-making processes.


From July 2020, the City of Sydney began using 100% renewable electricity, with the expectation that operational emissions will drop to 76% below 2006 levels by the end of June 2021.

Targets for the whole local area

  • Net-zero emissions by 2035
  • 90% diversion from landfill of residential, commercial and construction waste by 2030
  • 50% of electricity demand met by renewable sources by 2030

Targets for City of Sydney operations

  • 80% reduction in emissions generation by end June 2025, from 2006 baseline
  • Zero fleet emissions by 2035 or sooner
  • Zero increase in potable water use annually until 2025, from 2006 baseline
  • 90% diversion from landfill from city-managed properties by end June 2025

City of Sydney achievements since 2016

  • A reduction in emissions from operations by 76%.
  • Is now purchasing only 100% renewable electricity from wind and solar farms in NSW.
  • Has allocated $3.8 million in environmental grants in response to 330 applications from 198 individual organisations.
  • Has established a precinct-scale recycled water scheme at Green Square and achieved 6 Green Stars – Communities rating for Green Square town centre.
  • Has set-up water reuse schemes in 20 parks.
  • Has laid a recycled water pipeline in George Street.
  • Has composted 7 tonnes of food waste a month from our properties.
  • Has started a food scraps collection service. It will be available to 21,000 households by the end of September 2021.
  • Has increased recycling in our buildings from 28% (2018) to 42% (2020).
  • Made e-waste recycling collections available to all residents.
  • Introduced a grid-scale battery at our Alexandra Canal depot in 2018 in conjunction with 1665 solar panels which enable the site to generate more electricity than it consumes.
  • Converted more than 3,000 street lights to LEDs.
  • Introduced a sustainable procurement policy.
  • Established the Sustainable Destination Partnership which has 46 members.
  • 75% of our Better Buildings Partnership members committed to net-zero emissions.
  • Worked with 172 apartment blocks and helped them save $4 million, reduce emissions by 20,000 tonnes and water by 697million litres.
  • Signed up more than 30 leaders from the hospitality, events and property sectors to the Sydney single-use plastic pledge.
  • Advocated for a National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) tool for apartment buildings and 89 buildings have taken part so far.
  • Worked with NSW Government to install an air quality monitoring station.

For more information visit

Other reference documents

Greening Sydney Plan

Net Zero Plan Stage 1: 2020–2030 (NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment)

Residential Apartments Sustainability Plan

June 2021



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